news Australian startup Airtasker has used its fledgling jobs board service to advertise for someone to line up outside the Sydney Apple store to buy the new iPad when it is launched this Friday in Australia.
In what appeared to be a public relations stunt, the advertisement stipulated that the person selected would need to wear an Airtasker T-shirt and camp out the front of the store from 9AM Monday morning (12 March) until the iPad becomes available on Friday morning.
Airtasker co-founder Tim Fung’s message read “I’m desperate to get the first iPad3 in Sydney. The task is to camp out the front of the Sydney Apple Store (George Street) from 9am Monday morning (12 March) until the iPad becomes available on Friday (16 March).” The advertisement adds that the $700 fee is just for waiting in line and light-heartedly asks the respondent to check the weather and have camping gear and supplies ready to get through the week. A few people immediately bid for the $700 task and as of a couple of days ago, it has already been assigned to somebody named Stephen P.
Airtasker is a new Australian online community marketplace that lets people outsource chores and everyday tasks to local community members looking to earn some extra money. A brainchild of web entrepreneurs Fung and Jonathan Lui, Airtasker aims to provide a platform where people who need help with everyday jobs can connect with people in their local area who are looking to earn some extra cash by running errands, completing handyman tasks and doing other odd jobs.
To get a task done, you post on Airtasker what you need done and how much you are willing to pay for the service. Runners (local community members interested in doing the task) can ask questions and then make an offer to help. You can then check the Runner’s profile, history and ratings and once you’re satisfied, you can assign the job to the Runner. Once the Runner completes the task, you can pay with cash or securely through Airtasker’s PayPal facility.
Runners pay Airtasker a fee of $2 plus five per cent of the value of the task being completed. As a special promotion from launch, Runners can start using Airtasker for free without having to provide their payment details if they simply spread the word about Airtasker on either Facebook or Twitter.
Features like ‘Task Walls’—to let people chat about a task before working together, and an SMS system to verify users’ payment information and phone numbers have been built into Airtasker to make the platform safe and to help people get a better picture of who they will be working with. members are also encouraged to gather references and feedback reviews from people they work with.
All set to make its presence felt in Australia and other countries, the new version of Apple’s iPad tablet has a key new feature in the Retina Display apart from improvements in its processor – which is now a dual-core Apple A5X model, as compared to the previous A5 model; a rear camera – which is now a five megapixel model, up from 0.7 megapixels (allowing for shooting of HD video), and its support for the incoming flood of 4G networks.
The device has already made an impression with technology writers in the US. Engadget wrote about the new Retina Display: “Given that we’re unashamed Pixel Density Enthusiasts’ round these parts, seeing a 2,048 x 1,536 resolution display in the same area as the prior Pads is stunning.” The Verge wrote: “It goes without saying that the screen on the device is absolutely stunning – while we haven’t had a chance to look through every possible app on the new iPad, the retooled stock applications and icons really do pop on the Retina Display. Just as when we first saw the iPhone 4 display, the new iPad’s 2048 x 1536 screen is stunning to behold. Simply put, there’s no other product like it on the market.”
However, in all the excitement, it is worth remembering that the 4G speeds which the new iPad supports will not be available in Australia. Apple’s technical specifications page only lists it as supporting the 700Mhz and 2100Mhz spectrum bands, neither of which are being used in Australian telcos to provide 4G services. Telstra and Optus’ existing 4G rollouts are based on the 1800 MHz spectrum.
The fact that this is a bit of a stunt aside, if I was a 21-year-old iFanboy with time to space (say, in the uni holidays), and someone offered me $700 to line up for them to buy an Apple iPad on the day it came out, I would probably take them up on the offer. After all, many of these people are going to be lining up for several days anyway — what’s several more?
In addition, there’s a long history of PR stunts associated with iDevice launches in Australia. Those of us who’ve been to a few such events will remember at one occasion remote access company LogMeIn bought pizzas and soft drinks for those lining up for the iPhone 4 (at least, I think it was the iPhone 4, it may have been in the iPad) last year or the year before. In addition, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone are fond of delivering ritzy rewards in capital cities for the iCrowd when new launches happen. Wherever there is an Apple launch, there is a little craziness in the air.
Image credit: Airtasker. Opinion/analysis by Renai LeMay.